LIFE is full of little surprises. Some good, some not so.
Thankfully our trip to Elgin was one that fell right into the ‘Hey, that worked out well’ variety.
Stunning scenery, quaint villages and mountain views were all in abundance on our drive north to Moray.
Exploring the cracking coast was the plan for husband Dave and me.
But the happy stroke of good fortune came as we’d opted for Elgin purely as our base without realising the town itself had so much to offer.
Just outside it lie the spectacular ruins of Elgin Cathedral.
Dating back to 1224, the Lantern of the North site now falls under the care of Historic Scotland.
On the day we visited, a wedding was taking place in the grounds. The bride and groom definitely hadn’t lost their marbles in picking Elgin. It’s such a romantic location that it’s no surprise plenty say ‘I do’ to getting hitched there.
Next to the Cathedral, the Biblical Garden provides ample peace and tranquility. A horticultural heaven, it’s maintained by green-fingered students and is well worth a visit.
If Top Gear is on your telly planner then Moray Motor Museum is also a must-see. Housed in an unassuming building, it’s a real treasure trove of classic cars and motorbikes, some extremely rare and all still roadworthy and regularly raced.
The oldest is a 1904 Speedwell and, if the 1948 Rolls Royce Silver Wraith looks familiar, it’s because it has appeared in many blockbusters, including James Bond’s latest outing, Spectre.
We’d picked a Premier Inn on the outskirts of the town and it proved a quiet enough spot to guarantee a good night’s sleep after a long day exploring.
Our route to the coast took us via Huntly.
A lovely little town at the best of times, our visit coincided with one of the regular Farmers’ Markets.
Held on the first Saturday of the month, they look great for local, often organic, produce. We watched as berries were turned into jam on one stall – aptly called Live Jam.
A short but pleasant walk from the town centre took us to the ruins of Huntly Castle, once visited by Robert the Bruce.
And so to the coastal trail itself.
On day one we began at Macduff and finished at the pleasant sands at Lossiemouth.
Along the way, we enjoyed a fantastic lunch at Whitehills’ Rockfish Cafe. All fish is caught locally and they even tell you, where possible, which trawler caught it.
My husband picked some huge scampi pieces but I’d stopped at the right plaice on the menu as the fish pie was to die for!
Portsoy is a quaint little fishing village with a 17th Century harbour. Take a tip and get the best views for miles from the fabulous viewpoint overlooking it.
Although we were following the Coastal Trail, the roads can be as far as six miles inland.
Happily, unlike many tourist routes, parking and public loos were all free of charge.
Day two kicked off at Spey Bay, where we had briefly stopped at the end of our first day.
Like Lossiemouth, it took on a whole different atmosphere on a sunny but breezy morning and proved well worth the second look.
The highlights of our ad hoc itinerary were Hopeman and, my personal favourite, Findhorn. The bay there was simply magnificent in the summer sun.
We stopped at the Crown and Anchor Inn, where we had a delicious Cullen Skink for lunch.
It was probably the best I’ve ever had – wonderfully light and creamy and served with fresh bread.
We ended the trail in Forres, a few miles inland from Findhorn.
It’s well worth climbing Cluny Hill, then the 96 steps up Nelson’s Tower.
From the top there are uninterrupted views in all directions. Simply breathtaking!
Unspoiled beaches, breathtaking views, classic cars, castles and cathedrals – what’s not to love about Elgin and the Moray Coast?
We will definitely return.
Visit Scotland: https://www.visitscotland.com/info/towns-villages/elgin-p237701
Premier Inn: www.premierinn.com
Moray Motor Museum: www.moraymotormuseum.org/
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe